Iowa College Aid Insider: Applying for College & Financial Aid (Nov. 2017)

Iowa Financial Aid App

Beyond the FAFSA: State aid and more

When you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you’ll get a prompt asking if you’d also like to complete the Iowa Financial Aid Application. Do it. With a few simple questions, the Eligibility Wizard will determine if you meet the criteria for available state aid programs. Between the FAFSA and the Iowa Financial Aid Application, you’ll have applied for 11 state and federal grants and scholarships, plus federal loans and work-study. Here’s a list of programs and which application(s) require completion:

Federal grants:

Iowa scholarships: 

Iowa grants:

No text-speak in essays, plz

“LOL” and “JK” might be part of your everyday communication, but they don’t belong in your college admission or scholarship essays. Write in complete sentences with beginning and ending punctuation (that means capital letters and periods). Don’t use trendy abbreviations, and never use emojis. Here are more essay-writing tips:

  • Make a clear connection to the question being asked. Don’t reuse an essay from another application unless the question is the same. You might be able to borrow some wording, but edit your response so it relates to the new question.
  • Make a thesis statement, then back it up. Use facts and examples.
  • Demonstrate not just what you have done and learned, but what you want to do and learn in the future. Colleges want students who will benefit from their programs.
  • Use your failures, as well as your successes, for inspiration. Those times you fell short of your goals should have taught you something.
  • Cut the verbal clutter. Write in active voice, and zap unnecessary words.
  • Step away for a while. This is a good reason not to wait until the last minute: If you close your essay for a few days, then open and reread it, you’ll be a much better editor of your own work.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! Don’t rely only on spell-check. If you can, ask someone else to proofread for you with fresh eyes. 

Get more essay tips from a college professor who reviews scholarship applications.

College application checklist

Applying to college is a multi-step process. Here are simple checklists for four- and two-year schools to make sure you don’t miss anything:

4-year college or university: 

  • Gather necessary information (Social Security Number, GPA and class rank, name and address of current and previous high schools, I-94 card if applicable, ACT or SAT score, dual credit information)
  • Complete the college’s application.
  • Request your official high school transcript.
  • Pay the application fee or submit a fee waiver.
  • Submit your ACT or SAT scores.
  • Submit letters of recommendation (if required).
  • Submit additional material such as a portfolio (if required).
  • Write application essay (if required).
  • Submit the application and confirm receipt.
  • Schedule and go to interview (if required).
  • Watch for an admissions decision! 

2-year college:

  • Gather necessary information (Social Security Number, GPA and class rank, name and address of current and previous high schools, I-94 card if applicable, ACT or SAT score, dual credit information)
  • Complete the college’s application.
  • Request your official high school transcript.
  • Pay the application fee or submit a fee waiver.
  • Submit the application and confirm receipt.
  • Complete an assessment and/or placement test before enrolling.

Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on December 11, 2017 at 12:11am.